It’s fair to say the rule changes introduced for the 2020/21 Big Bash League on Monday have gone down like a lead balloon.
BBL officials have announced the “Power Surge”, “X-Factor” and “Bash Boost” rules will come into affect for the 10th instalment of the T20 competition, starting December 10.
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The Power Surge sees the six-over power play split, with the initial power play now four overs and the batting team to nominate the last two power play overs from the 11th over.
The Bash Boost involves the competition’s points system being altered.
In the second innings, a bonus point is on offer to the chasing team if they're ahead of their opponent’s 10-over score.
If the chasing team is behind, the opponent will get the point.
And the X-Factor allows a team to substitute one player out of the game mid-match for a nominated ‘X-Factor’ player.
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann says the substitute will have an instant impact on the competition.
“We will use it a bit more than people would think,” he told reporters on Monday.
“This one will be successful because it's an immediate impact on the game and ... in essence it will make the games closer.
“If you're batting first and you're four-for not many and you need an extra batter, you have to sub a bowler out which would allow you to get a bigger total.
“And vice-versa, if you're batting really well and you're none or one for 100, you could actually sub a batter out and bring in another bowler.”
However fans and commentators aren’t so sure, taking to social media to savage the new “gimmicks”.
Channel Nine commentator Matthew Thompson tweeted: “Ridiculous. Which focus group came up this this garbage?
“Here’s an idea. 11 players a team. 20 overs each. Most runs win.”
Ridiculous. Which focus group came up this this garbage? Here’s an idea. 11 players a team. 20 overs each. Most runs win?
— Mathew Thompson (@MathewJThompson) November 15, 2020
Who asked for this?
— Bert Handsome (@_BertHandsome) November 15, 2020
I’m a fan of the BBL. Before my kid was born I attended every Thunder home game in Sydney. I’m the kind of person who you want watching on TV, but this takes this further away from being a proper sport. Please just play the game and let it speak for itself.
— Ben Raue (@benraue) November 15, 2020
What is this crap. How about they just bat 20 overs each and whoever gets the highest score wins?
— Ben Drena (@Bendrena70) November 15, 2020
My son and I have been fans of BBL and attend several matches each year. These changes are just a gimmick and confusing. I think it is a turn off and making BBL less relevant. I could understand a bonus point for winning by a certain margin. These changes seem ridiculous to me.
— Ian Hammond (@orstrayan) November 16, 2020
Surely a joke. What an embarrassingly tinpot league the Big Bash has become. Sad as it used to be quality. https://t.co/anrM3ahNlj
— Lew Carey (@lewcarey25) November 15, 2020
Calls to give BBL rule changes a chance
Lehmann hoped the new rules would be given time to settle by both players and public.
“The rule changes are there, let's see how they go,” he said.
“It's to make the games closer, better.
“And it's like anything, you have just got to see how it goes over time.”
The BBL starts on December 10 with a group of games in Tasmania and the ACT before moving to Queensland and South Australia later in the month.
Organisers have announced a schedule until December 31 for the initial 21 games of the 56-match season.
“The introduction of these new innovations is yet another reason why the KFC BBL|10 season is set up to be the most exciting in the league’s history,” Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson said.
“The power surge, X-factor and Bash boost prioritise scoring, exciting cricket, introduce new strategic angles and ensure there’s always something to play for throughout the entire match.
“We’re confident our fans will love what these innovations bring to the game as many of the world’s top T20 players, plus our next generation of Australian stars, bring them to life on field.”
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